AFL coach unloads scathing attack
WESTERN Bulldogs coach Luke Beveridge says his side ticked a lot of the right boxes in their preseason thumping of North Melbourne on Friday night.
Still hurting from last year's elimination final embarrassment, the Dogs turned on a scintillating attacking display at Marvel Stadium to win by 44 points.
Despite the supremely positive showing from his side, Beveridge unloaded in the post-match press conference with a scathing attack at recruiters.
With the press conference effectively wrapped up, the Bulldogs coach unleashed over reports recruiters are unhappy over the club's access to teenage star Jamarra Ugle-Hagan.
The 17-year-old is considered one of the most talented players in the draft pool, but is tied to the Bulldogs through the next generation academy.
Under current rules the Bulldogs are guaranteed to get him if they want and will also receive a 20 per cent discount.
But Beveridge wasn't happy and he decided to take the initiative to hit out at the end of his press conference, referencing an article in the Herald Sun.
"You didn't want to ask me about Jamarra?" Beveridge asked reporters.
"All I'd like to say is it was a really shortsighted article in regards to Jamarra. Our club has put a lot of time into Jamarra and looked after him and nurtured him and that's what the NGA academy is all about. Every club is doing it.
"I was surprised there was uproar just because we've got an opportunity if Jamarra is that player who is going to be an early pick. Really shortsighted article.
"What we should be doing is going even further in allowing clubs to put time into potential academy players. I'm not saying we go back to full zoning but what it does is it injects incentive into the communities - and that's what's happened with Jamarra.
"He's at a private school, he's learnt a lot with us in his time, but he's no different to an Isaac Heeney or any one of those players.
"I'm really surprised that because we might have an opportunity - and it is yet to be seen where Jamarra goes - that such a shortsighted article was written."
Beveridge expressed his disappointment over the reports and stated Ugle-Hagan didn't deserve to have his name in the news ahead of his final year of underage footy.
"Whoever the recruiters are who have expressed their shortsighted understanding of how our game needs to grow and how we need to continue to pump money, time and resources into our code right across the country is extremely disappointing," he added.
"There's no names in that article, but they want to have a good look at themselves.
"It is yet to be seen where Jamarra ends up, but he's a great kid. He doesn't deserve to be that headline either."
Luke Beveridge VERY strong on gun NGA prospect Jamarra Ugle-Hagan. Brought up the topic himself at the end of the press conference and not only defended the NGA system but wants it expanded. #MarshSeries— Marc McGowan (@ByMarcMcGowan) February 21, 2020
Earlier in the night the Bulldogs put on a dazzling display as they ran riot against North Melbourne.
New captain Marcus Bontempelli starred with 37 disposals - matching his career-best tally - and had plenty of assistance from his teammates. Lachie Hunter, Jack Macrae and Hayden Crozier were all busy as Sam Lloyd and Lewis Young kicked three goals apiece.
"We looked like the team we should be," Beveridge said.
"We've been working on a lot of things over preseason and trying to progress what we've been doing, and there were a lot of good signs.
"Some of our ball use, taking it forward under pressure and other times being a bit more measured, there were some good signs there and I thought we were hard in the contest."
The Bulldogs had more than double their opponents' number of scoring shots in the 15.11 (101) to 9.3 (57) win and enjoyed a 30-19 advantage in free kicks.
"Some people are always critical of that count, but it's because we attacked the footy and we're going to get that," Beveridge said.
"It was a physical contest."
- with AAP
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